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28 February 2021

Film “Hidden Figures” breaks the stereotype

It’s been thought women are not good at mathematics and not suitable for engineering jobs. But that kind of notions were proved to be nonsense a long time ago. The film “Hidden Figures” described three Afro-American women working for NASA rocket engineering department as mathematicians, in Jim-Crow era, 1950’s to 1960’s.

 

I learnt about the film by Voice of America article on NASA’s International Space Station program. NASA named the supply ship to the ISS Katherine Johnson after one of mathematicians in the biopic film.

 

They were not only being woman but Black women, who had to sit down on back seats in public bus and could not share the same bathroom with their white co-workers. But they did contribute to the very difficult space programs by calculating the orbit and designing rockets.

 

If they were white male, this story cannot be a film.

 

Breaking stereotype is the most important factor to counter racism or other type of discrimination such as gender, and sexual orientation. Stereotype is the origin of discrimination. Prejudice is biased view on others using stereotype images. Then people discriminate others based on prejudice.

 

Stereotype is baseless information about others. Like all Japanese can do Karate, which I don’t. You cannot generalize others based on such stereotype. The sad thing is people judge others by these stereotypes and then sometimes treat them badly.

 

In the film, NASA officials found the women very useful to the organization’s projects so they accepted them equally. If they hadn’t accepted them as legitimate staff, NASA would have lost such great assets and wouldn’t have succeeded in historic space missions in those days.

 

Stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination undermine progress of our society.

 

Let’s get rid of such things from our world.

31 January 2021

Can Biden unite America again? I guess not.

President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris were sworn in. 

That is a good news. No more Trump's stupid administration. 

Biden decided that US return to Paris Accord and WHO. The Democrat President should have better policies for the world. 

But will he reunite America after Jan. 6 US Capitol riot in which thousands of white supremacists stormed into US Capitol building to take over Congress to stop officially electing new president. 

In fact that was the true figure of America, dominated by white supremacists. America has been that way since independence. 

America is fundamentally White Christian society. That is never changed.  

Because Trump was too bad for his position, people ousted him but still as many as 75 million people supported him, most votes among sitting US presidents in history. Most Republican Congressmembers and Senators opposed impeachment of Trump. 

Trump actually opened Pandora's box. A big "Go back to White America" movement is already on. 

When Biden was sworn in at the inauguration ceremony, he placed his hand on a bible book. It means US President must be Christian. 

That is OK. I always thought America is white dominated Christian society. I condemn racism but I do not think America should try to become more diverse society accepting more of different kind of people. 

That is America's choice. That is part of reason that Harvard restricted admission of Asian students by using racial quota affirmative action because the university does not want its campus dominated by Asian students.  

Black Lives Matter movement is met with disagreement since it is known more Black people were shot by police officers because they tried to fight back the police more often than other people. 

Racism comes with social economic inequality. If one is born in a poor family, he or she has less opportunity to have good education including social manners. That resulted in less opportunity to obtain higher income jobs. 

Things are getting complicated, not easy to resolve. 

Meanwhile, America will be further divided by white America and Anti-white-America movements. That division, I think would not be amendable. Which America is better to deal with? 

22:21 Posted in Politics, un-USA | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: racism, religion

15 September 2019

Film “East Side Sushi” Can Japanese accept the change?

A story of a Mexican American woman who worked in Japanese cuisine restaurant for the purpose of getting a stable job and later came to want to be a sushi chef. The story took place in California.

In Japan you can rarely meet a female sushi chef. It is said that women are unfit for the job because their body temperature is normally higher than men so they cannot grip rice and raw fish properly.

But such things are nonsense. The bottom line is it is just male chauvinism that prevented women from entering that industry.

In the film the owner of restaurant preferred Asian men standing and making sushi inside counter facing directly to customers. It was his intent to keep the image as a Japanese restaurant. She cooked in the inner kitchen. She could make better sushi and never smoke but Asian men who smoked were allowed to face customers. 

Why are we so stubborn?

The film seemed to question how Japanese should deal with new ideas and educates us how to live with diverse population. Meaning we have to give up conventional stereotypes of our own. 

There are many foreigners who do Japanese things lately. There are many foreign sumo wrestlers. There are many women who do what traditionally men do. 

A dark skin Mexican female sushi chef indeed looks odd to us but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. As long as they can make delicious ones, it is desirable. 

In the film protagonist knew importance of freshness even before she became a chef. That is very much related to sushi making. 

Japanese cultures are not just for Japanese to enjoy and preserve but all of the people in the world. 

Besides above, what you can learn from the film is sushi rice is made with vinegar, sugar, and salt. Japanese chef use carbon steel knives, sticking chopsticks on rice is very inappropriate act which resembles funerals. 

Great lessons for Japanese viewers. Most Japanese never knew. 

 

14:15 Posted in Culture, Film, Society | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: sushi, racism, feminism

16 August 2017

Trump is the very American President

The world is shocked by white supremacists' march and subsequent terror attack to its counterprotestors in Charlottesville, Virginia, and President Trump's response to the incident.

To me, it was the same day I participated in a peace march protected by the police force and met with nationalist counterprotestors on the sidewalk. Prior to the march, the police blockaded the roads so no nationalist would not enter the march route. The peace activists protest the Yasukuni Shrine ideology (justifying Japan's invasion of Asian neighbors) and its enshrinement of the war dead in WW II. Just like General Lee Statue of the Confederate Army.

racism, history, okinawa, Trump,

racism, history, okinawa, Trump,What happened in Charlottesville is reverse. The marchers were nationalists.

 

Donald Trump has been criticized for his not naming white supremacists or Neo-Nazis as offenders, instead he blamed "many sides" or "both sides" for the incident.

He claimed that if they wanted to remove General Lee statue because of slavery related history, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should be removed as well because they were slave owners.

Yes, he made points. America is founded on slavery, and massacre of Native Americans.

Liberals and mainstream media have harshly criticized Trump's statements, which seemed to condone white supremacists' action. More and more people join counterprotest to the rise of white nationalist movement. But it is the fact that some portion, not very small portion of the population supports white nationalist views. That is why he was elected.

America is in fact, European immigrants nation. Majority should be white. In coming decades, white will not be majority but fall into minority, less than half. Currently still more than 60%. Silent white majority now feels threatened because true American identity may be lost. Trump exposed true nature of America.

America, as melting pot, salad ball, mosaic is in fact, illusion. The reality is white dominated Christian base society. If other people want to join, they have to compromise to be second-class citizen. That is the same everywhere in the world. It is very, very difficult to change the society. Tradition and core demography cannot be changed easily whether it is good or evil. Obama, as Black president was exceptional. That is why such whitelash is happening.

To me as Japanese, if America is not white majority nation, it is not America I know. Most of Hollywood film actors are white. So it is the time we, Japanese and other people in the world to change the view of America.

America is no longer or has not traditionally, free and democratic and friendly nation that respects diversity and dignity of other people than whites. They were really good at advertising good images but the truth is not how they portrayed themselves to the world.

Good example is Guam in US Pacific territory and Okinawa, Japan.

Guam people have no rights to elect US President. Guam is small islands but one-third of the areas is occupied by US military bases. Locals have no rights to change the situation just like a colony.

In Okinawa, there has been anti-US military base movement led by Okinawa prefectural governor, Onaga. Majority of prefectural residents want US military, especially Marines out of their land. But the U.S. persists in stationing there in the name of defense of Japan, which in fact, they do not so.

racism, history, okinawa, Trump,

Good thing about Trump is he insists on removal of US forces from Japan because US no longer wants to defend foreign nations but prioritise domestic issues. Other US Presidents look politer but still want to keep hegemony of the world. Trump is destroying his nation's reputation so that US cannot lead the world any longer. More and more people stop treating America as the world leader or a role model of the democracy.

Trump looks crazy but may try to normalise his nation and the world. 

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